It has been a long time coming, and now it’s official: OSHA has aligned the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.1200, with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The updated Hazard Communication Standard provides classification criteria for chemical health and physical hazards and specifies the hazard communication elements needed for chemical labels and safety data sheets. This revised standard affects chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers. During implementation of the new rule, chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers can comply with the new Hazard Communication Standard aligned with GHS, the existing Hazard Communication Standard revised as of October 1, 2011, or both.
- Labels – Chemical manufacturers and chemical importers must provide a label that includes a pictogram, signal word, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category to which the chemical belongs.
- Hazard Classification – Chemical manufacturers and chemical importers must determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. The updated Hazard Communication Standard provides specific criteria to address physical and health hazards of individual chemicals as well as classification of mixtures.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) – Formerly referred to as material safety data sheets (MSDSs), the new format requires 16 specific sections, providing consistency in the presentation of information.
What does this mean for chemical users?
Chemical users may begin to see changes in labels and safety data sheets as chemical producers adopt the revised Hazard Communication Standard. Chemical users should begin:
Replacing MSDSs with SDSs as they become available;
- Training employees on the new label elements and SDS sections; and
- Updating hazard communication programs if new hazards are identified.
Employers must train employees on the new label elements and SDS format by December 1, 2013 and comply with all modifications to the Hazard Communication Standard by June 1, 2015.
What does this mean for chemical producers?
Chemical producers should begin:
- Reviewing hazard information for all chemicals produced or imported;
- Classifying chemicals according to the new classification criteria;
- Updating labels; and,
- Updating SDSs.
Chemical producers must comply with all modifications to the Hazard Communication Standard by June 1, 2015.
For more information, contact Kelly Camp.